PREMIERE TO GET 1ST RADAR RATING: STEP BY NETWORK RADIO SYNDICATOR MAY EASE MEDIA-BUYER RESISTANCE

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Premiere Radio Networks is reorganizing its offerings into four new networks and will become the first program syndicator rated by Radar.

With the estimated $4 million five-year agreement, Premiere joins ABC Radio, American Urban, Westwood One and AMFM Radio networks in being rated by the Statistical Research Inc. service.

"It's a statement by Premiere that they want to step up to the Westwood Ones and ABCs of the world," said Bruce Heim, VP-director of network radio operations for TN Media/Bozell, New York.

"There has always been some reluctance and resistance to networks not rated by Radar," said Kraig Kitchin, chief operating officer at Premiere, acquired a year ago by Jacor Communications. "This is a point in time to continue our exponential growth."

MAKING AGENCIES COMFORTABLE

The new networks shift more than 4,000 station affiliates from former networks Premiere I, II and III and Nationwide I and II. Stations now are organized under the news-talk oriented AM Drive Network, contemporary hit Core Network, album-oriented/classic rock Focus Network and multiple format Axis Network.

Premiere also will have the hugely popular "Dr. Laura Schlessinger Program" rated, but has not yet decided to add Rush Limbaugh, to the Radar survey.

"This is definitely going to boost the medium," said Leslie Sturm, VP-associate director of network radio for Media Edge, New York. "Premiere is taking a lead step for syndication to make clients and agencies feel comfortable about clearances, which is a big issue."

Mr. Heim said the move also may have been motivated by the resistance of media buyers in Detroit and Chicago against non-Radar rated properties.

"Anybody who wants to become a dominant force has to show quanitifiable data," said Bill Koenigsberg, president-CEO of Horizon Media, New York, who added that he'd like to see CBS Radio's Don Imus follow the lead of Dr. Laura's talk show.

Network radio spots hit $865.6 million in '97, says Competitive Media Reporting, up 7.4% from '96

QUARTERLY SURVEYS COMING

Premiere is the second new subscriber since October, when Chancellor Media formed AMFM Radio Networks -- the first new network in 14 years. Its two networks will have their first published ratings this month, when the spring Radar 57 survey is issued. Also, AMFM added Casey Kasem's "American Top 40" program in March, its first syndicated programming.

The first summer Radar survey will be out by the end of September, with Radar's move to quarterly data. So 1998 will have three reports; there will be four in 1999.

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